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Miami Criminal Defense Blog

Cotton candy mistaken for meth by roadside drug test

When is an ordinary bag of cotton candy an object of suspicion and a possible sign of drug trafficking?

Apparently, when the police in Munroe County, Florida, see it sitting in a car during what should have been a rather routine traffic stop.

Could you be guilty of tax fraud?

Tax season is an annual headache for millions of Americans. Fraud or tax evasion can get you into serious trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Unfortunately, it's easy to mess up your tax returns. The tax system grows increasingly complex by the year -- and many people make mistakes that could be construed as fraud by an overeager IRS agent. For example:

Understanding embezzlement and its defenses

Embezzlement is, essentially, a type of theft that's accomplished through deception and an abuse of privilege or power rather than the kind of theft that happens with a mask and a gun. Embezzlement occurs when someone who has lawful access to money diverts it away from its proper owner or purpose for personal use.

For example, imagine that two of the nuns at a Catholic school are in charge of collecting donations, school fees and tuition from their charges. However, the nuns had a gambling problem -- so they quietly siphoned whatever cash they could away from the school's coffers and into their own pockets in order to fund their trips to Las Vegas. That's exactly what happened in an embezzlement case that was recently uncovered in California. Sadly, similar crimes happen all the time.

Called as a witness in a federal case? Get an attorney

It's all too easy to become involved in a federal criminal investigation these days. You just have to work in an office, handle certain pieces of paperwork or be present when some questionable events occur to end up facing investigators.

Make no mistake, however: Being a witness in a federal investigation can be dangerous. The line between "witness for the prosecution" and "target of an investigation" is perilously thin. Here are some facts that you need to know about being a witness:

DNA testing and the future of criminal investigations

Could the police obtain your DNA evidence without ever approaching you directly? They can. Although it's only been done a few times, DNA evidence obtained through agencies that provide consumers with at-home genetic testing kits has already been successfully used by investigators to crack some long-running criminal cases wide open.

In late 2018, police were able to track down a 72-year-old man who was wanted in connection to at least 45 rapes and 12 murders back in the 1970s and 1980s. The so-called "Golden State Killer" turned out to be a former policeman.

Why did the Fyre Festival's founder go to jail?

If you've been online lately, you've probably heard the buzz surrounding the Fyre Festival -- the famous concert "experience" for wealthy, influential Millennials that wasn't. Two documentaries about what happened there have recently landed on Netflix and Hulu.

The Fyre Festival was an example of how social media and marketing could create a belief in an unproven venture that was strong enough to hook people -- including experienced investors -- for thousands of dollars. It was also a fantastic example of how reality sometimes fails to live up to social media hype. Ultimately, after failing to provide the concert experience that was supposed to be somewhere along the lines of Coachella and Burning Man, the Fyre Festival's founder went to jail and is permanently banned from being an officer or director of a business again.

Appellate court denies challenge to use of facial recognition

Is facial recognition technology the new version of the fingerprint in future criminal cases?

There was a time when fingerprint analysis wasn't accepted in court -- and now its reliability is once again under fire from many credible sources that say it isn't as accurate as people -- and jurors -- have long been led to believe. Other types of physical evidence once common in American courtrooms have also either fallen out of favor or been deeply brought into question -- including things like hair follicle analysis and bite mark analysis.

Executives on notice: The Justice Department is watching

There's been a lot of media attention on the high-profile arrests of executives for a variety of white collar crimes, including securities violations, tax evasion and violating laws regarding United States sanctions.

What's happening? Has the executive class of some of the world's biggest corporations suddenly gone rogue?

  • In the Media:
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  • The Miami Herald
  • Good Morning America

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